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VOBT HUMBOLBT.                231
months in wicker "baskets, attracted the crocodiles by
their screams, and thereby refuted the assertion of
the Indians that crocodiles had never been seen in the
cataracts, confiding in which assertion Huxaboldt
and Bonpland had even several times ventured to
The storm increased ; wet through and stunned by
the thunders of the cataract, they waited anxiously
for the arrival of the Indians with the boat. At last,
they came, having sought for navigable water for a
long time.
Humboldt now visited the notorious cave of Ata-
ruipe, situated at the southern entrance of the water-
fall   of  Atures.    Not  without  risk  of   falling,   did
Humboldt and his friend climb the steep wall   of
granite, and they would not have found a footing on.
the  smooth surface., if large crystals of feldspar had
not projected from the rock.   But they were rewarded
with a splendid view at the sximmit;  before them
was the shining water, from which fertile hillocks
projected, and westwards, beyond the river, immeasu-
rable fields of verdure.    But in the immediate neigh-
bourhood everything was bare and narrow, and the
vulture and the screeching goat-sucker soared solitary
over the deep valley.    The back ground of this rocky-
valley is overgrown with close bushes,  and in this
shaded part lies the notorious cave, the grave of an
extinct nation.    The travellers   counted  above   600
weU-preserved skeletons, which were lying in square
baskets, made of the stalks of palm leaves, and  of
which, neither rib, hand, nor foot-bone was missing'.
Near the skeletons stood urns about 3 feet high and
5J broad, made of half-burnt clay, with crocodile or
serpent-shaped handles,   and  these  urns  seemed to
contain bones of entire families.   Most of the
did not seem above 100 years old, and the
in this neighbourhood is, that the  brave
pursued by the cannibal Oaraibes, had fled to the
rocks of these waterfalls, and had perished here. .   ^.
Humboldt left this cave at night, taking: mtt him